There are 4 constitutional amendments on Maine’s Nov. 7 poll, operating the gamut from a key a part of Maine’s tribal-rights push to lesser-known parts of petition legislation.
Right here’s what it’s good to know.
Query 6: Restoring omitted items of Structure
The query: Do you prefer amending the Structure of Maine to require that the entire provisions of the Structure be included within the official printed copies of the Structure ready by the Secretary of State?
What your vote does: A sure vote would restore elements of the Maine Structure that have been taken out of printed copies as a part of modifications that took impact in 1876, together with treaty obligations to tribes. A no vote would proceed to depart them out. They’re nonetheless in authorized drive.
Key context: This got here out of a bigger sovereignty push from Maine tribes, with one proponent saying it will “un-erase” a part of the state’s historical past. It’s unknown why lawmakers within the Reconstruction period determined to take treaty obligations out of print. They have been extracted alongside antiquated gadgets in modifications geared toward rising readability of the doc.
Our protection: Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, vociferously opposed this modification in a letter to lawmakers from her chief lawyer earlier this 12 months, whereas tribes rallied on the State Home on Monday to again it.
Query 8: Voting rights for these underneath guardianship
The query: Do you prefer amending the Structure of Maine to take away a provision prohibiting an individual underneath guardianship for causes of psychological sickness from voting for Governor, Senators and Representatives, which the USA District Courtroom for the District of Maine discovered violates the USA Structure and federal legislation?
What your vote does: A sure vote permits Mainers underneath guardianship for psychological sickness to vote. A no vote continues a prohibition on voting that has not been enforced since a 2001 court docket ruling discovered it unconstitutional, making this largely a housekeeping measure.
Key context: Maine has been wrestling with this challenge for many years. Initially, the state Structure barred “paupers and individuals underneath guardianship” from voting. In 1965, it was amended to only apply to these underneath guardianship for psychological sickness.
In 1997 and 2000, Maine voters have been requested to strike that provision. Every time, they refused. Lastly, a decide successfully did it for them by ruling that the prohibition violated the 14th Modification and “singled out, for no professional foundation, folks with psychiatrically based mostly diagnoses.” This 12 months, lawmakers despatched one other bid to alter the legislation to voters.
Our protection: The Maine Monitor has a very good rundown of the modifications right here. Matt Gagnon, the CEO of the conservative Maine Coverage Institute, wrote a BDN column towards the change that argues for a narrower resolution. The top of Incapacity Rights Maine retorted by saying the change is “lengthy overdue.”
Questions 5 and seven: Altering petition legal guidelines
Query 5 textual content: Do you prefer amending the Structure of Maine to alter the time interval for judicial evaluation of the validity of written petitions from inside 100 days from the date of submitting to inside 100 enterprise days from the date of submitting of a written petition within the workplace of the Secretary of State, with an exception for petitions filed inside 30 calendar days earlier than or after a basic election?
Query 7 textual content: Do you prefer amending the Structure of Maine to take away a provision requiring a circulator of a citizen’s initiative or folks’s veto petition to be a resident of Maine and a registered voter in Maine, necessities which have been dominated unconstitutional in federal court docket?
What your vote does: A sure vote enacts these modifications to legal guidelines governing how candidates and questions get on the poll by petition. A no vote rejects them.
Key context: These two gadgets have been supported by Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows’ workplace and apply to an arcane however vital a part of the state’s election system.
Query 5 is a response to workload within the secretary of state’s workplace, giving them extra time to evaluation signatures for Maine referendums. It got here after a busy winter in 2022 by which employees needed to confirm 159,000 signatures whereas making election preparations, operating recounts and doing ranked-choice tallies. Now, they’ve solely 30 days to confirm signatures.
Query 7 seems to be to align the state with a federal court docket ruling in 2022 that struck down as unconstitutional Maine’s requirement that signature gatherers making an attempt to get gadgets on the poll have to be Maine residents and voters.
Examine Query 2 — Ban on international electioneering
Examine Query 3 — Electrical utility takeover
Examine Query 4 — ‘Proper to restore’